Mechanisms, Materials and Classification in Geomorphological Explanation

  • W. Brian Whalley
Part of the Horizons in Geography book series (HOGE)


Present day geomorphological research is the explanation of landscapes and landforms: what they are, how they function and have developed. This includes a variety of approaches some of which are shown in Figure 1.5.1. Research is a much more complex undertaking than giving names to landforms or even the A-level study of ‘processes’, both in terms of what we mean by ‘process’, and how ‘explanations’ are approached. It is worthwhile examining some reasons for this, as it shows the increasing complexity of the subject and leads to ideas of how geomorphology can be studied.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Further Reading

  1. Reading can profitably be directed towards two general themes, the first dealing with broad issues and the second introducing specific details of a materials-based approach. The following three references open the discussion by raising a variety of methodological mattersGoogle Scholar
  2. Chorley R. J. (1978) ‘Bases for theory in geomorphology’, in Embleton C., Brunsden D. and Jones D. K. C. (eds) Geomorphology, Present Trends and Future Prospects (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  3. Gregory S. (1978) ‘The role of physical geography in the curriculum’, Geography, vol. 63, pp. 251–64.Google Scholar
  4. Jennings J. N. (1972) ‘“Any milleniums today, lady?” The geomorphic bandwaggon parade’, Australian Geographical Studies, vol. 11, pp. 115–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Next, various aspects of materials-based explanation are considered, starting with two overall statements of the potentialGoogle Scholar
  6. Whalley W. B. (1976) Properties of Materials and Geomorphological Explanation (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  7. Pitty A. (1985) Themes in Geomorphology (Beckenham: Croom Helm).Google Scholar
  8. Finally, the following sources introduce a variety of detailed examples of the significance of materials at various scales, starting with weathering and moving on to erosional and depositional environmentsGoogle Scholar
  9. Goudie A. S. and Pye, K. (1983) Chemical Sediments and Geomorphology (London: Academic Press).Google Scholar
  10. Wilson R. C. L. (1983) Residual Deposits: Surface Related Weathering Processes and Materials (Oxford: Blackwell Scientific).Google Scholar
  11. Brunsden D. and Prior D. B. (1984 ) Slope Instability (Chichester: John Wiley).Google Scholar
  12. Caine, N. (1983) The Mountains of Northeastern Tasmania (Rotterdam: Balkema).Google Scholar
  13. Boulton G. S. (1975) ‘Processes and patterns of subglacial sedimentation: a theoretical approach’, in Wright A. E. and Moseley F. (eds) Ice Ages: Ancient and Modern (Liverpool: Seel House Press) pp. 7–42.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© W. Brian Whalley 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Brian Whalley
    • 1
  1. 1.The Queen’s University of BelfastUK

Personalised recommendations